Have I mentioned that I always suspected that I have a learning disability? If I was in high school today I’m certain that I would diagnosed with some form of learning disability and be given some drug that would make me ‘get it’. I wonder if my life would be different. I have grown past the ‘less than feelings’ that can be associated with not doing well in school. But, as a kid, its easy to define yourself by those short comings. I always feel bad for fat kids because its hard enough without having ot put up with that crap. Whenever I see a fat parent buying their fat kids a hot dog and a 20 ounce big Gulp from the 7-11 I want to shake the parent and say "This is child abuse!" but I'm afraid the fat parent and her fat kid would beat me up and where would my self-esteem be then?
When I was young, I must not have picked up reading quickly. In fact it must have been so painfully slow that my parents sent me to a private tutor at Mount Saint Joseph College. It was a nun who taught me and I just barely remember the lessons at all. I do remember that the nun was very kind and patient. It’s in vogue to trash the men and women of the cloth in the Catholic religion, and while I’m no longer a religious person I will say they, for the most part, treated me well- except Sister Joseph Ellen who sucker punched me as I came out of the bathroom, but she still makes me laugh with her antics so I can’t be too resentful toward her.
Anyway- As I have mentioned before there were 6 kids in my family. We were by no means poor but I’m sure there wasn’t extra money lieing around to pay for private reading lessons. Every Saturday my mom would drive to the College but before we got there we would stop at a donut shop where I could get any pastry I wanted. This was a big deal, in my family as we weren’t permitted sweets like this. My mom and I would sit on the lawn and eat our breakfast snack and talk- with all those kids my parents were pretty good about spending individual time with each of us. I only remember one conversation we had. I asked my mom if she would vote for Richard Nixon if she were his mother- she said no.
One day after many months of tutoring, the nun told me that there was no reason for me to come back- I was a fine reader she told my mother. She must have been right because I became a reading fool spending great amounts of time in the library. A bagful of library books felt like Christmas to me. I wish I could remember the nun that taught me to read, but I think, more importantly, the time I spent with my mom taught me to enjoy the experience of reading.